Police Oversight

The Center for Dispute Settlement (The Center) has a long history of involvement in the police/community relations arena in Rochester and Monroe County.  Our Police/Community Relations Programs have evolved over the past thirty-five (35) years.  The Center is an independent, impartial community based organization providing several different Police/Community Relations Programs offered for civilians and law enforcement agencies; however, the Center is not affiliated with the police department.

The goal of the Police/Community Relations Programs is to strengthen the relationship between the community at large and law enforcement by providing civilian oversight to local police agencies, police complaint and compliment intake services, and conciliation opportunities between citizens and officers.  The Center and its volunteer mediators and fact-finders play an important role in building bridges between the community and the police.

At the Center, we recognize the importance of a positive relationship between law enforcement and members of the community.  Because members of law enforcement have a high level of public contact, complaints and misunderstandings may arise.  In an effort to proactively address complaints, build community trust, and establish long-term positive partnerships between the community and members of law enforcement, The Center offers a number of highly specialized Civilian Oversight Programs to accomplish these goals.

For more information contact: Cheryl Hayward at chayward@cdsadr.org  or call (585) 546-5110 x117

Community Advocate

The Community Advocate on staff assists complainants throughout the police complaint process.  The Community Advocate is available to

  • Assist complainants when initiating a complaint
  • Accompany a complainant during their sworn statement at the Professional Standards Section regarding their allegations
  • Act as a point of contact throughout the investigation to provide updates and progress reports
  • Serve as a liaison between the investigating sergeant and the complainant;
  • Provides oversight of the complaint investigation process to ensure that each complaint is fairly, thoroughly and timely investigated.

For more information contact: Grace O'Neil at goneil@cdsadr.org or (585) 546-5110 x109

Complaint Intake Services

The Center serves as an alternate site for citizens to initiate complaints or compliments against members of the Rochester Police Department.  We provide a safe, neutral, non-police environment for citizens to initiate the complaint process when they believe they were inappropriately treated by officers or subjected to police misconduct.

Who can file a complaint? Any person may file a complaint against a Rochester Police Department officer when there is reason to believe that an officer has acted improperly or a compliment if an officer has provided exemplary service.
What is the intake process? Center staff works with citizens to develop, finalize and sign a personnel complaint form.  The original is sent to the Professional Standards Section of the Rochester Police Department for follow-up investigation and the complainant is provided with a copy of the original.  The Center also maintains a copy of the complaint.  The complainant will be regularly notified of the status of the investigation and the findings upon completion.

For more information contact:

Cheryl Hayward at chayward@cdsadr.org or (585) 546-5110 x117

Grace O'Neil at goneil@cdsadr.org or (585) 546-5110 x109

Police Conciliation Mediation

Police Conciliation Mediation (PCON) is a voluntary, confidential process offered to a citizen and Rochester Police Officer to informally resolve the issues contained in a citizen complaint.  The Police Conciliation Mediation Program (PCON) is designed to bring a complaining citizen and police officer together to resolve disputes with the aid of a trained, experienced, third party neutral.  The nature of the allegation against the officer must not involve a use of force, criminal activity, or other serious procedural matters.  The meeting, conducted by a trained Center mediator in a neutral environment, is private, confidential and free.   If the conciliation should fail, the citizen maintains the right to request an investigation of their complaint.

Why is Police Conciliation Mediation offered to complainants and officers?
For a variety of reasons, a complaining citizen may not want to extend their complaint to a formal Internal Affairs investigation.  During a formal investigation, a citizen is not provided the opportunity to speak directly with the officer in a safe, controlled environment to express his or her concerns and vice versa.  Many times a citizen is only looking for an explanation or clarification of why the officer may have behaved in a certain way.  A fair and worthwhile opportunity to discuss the incident may be the most satisfying experience for all parties. During a Police Conciliation Mediation both parties will have the opportunity to bring closure to the incident by clarifying each other’s perspectives and the circumstances surrounding the incident. The ultimate goal is that the officer and citizen may find common ground after having the opportunity to hear and discuss each other’s perspectives or at very least have a better understanding as to why the other party engaged in a particular behavior.

Rochester Civilian Review Board

The Civilian Review Board is a voluntary body comprised of Rochester city resident mediators of varied ethnic, racial, age and gender backgrounds. The purposes of the Rochester Civilian Review Board (CRB) is to review citizen and internally generated complaints and make recommendations on completed internal affairs investigations of alleged misconduct by employees of the Rochester Police Department.  Each review panel consists of three (3) individuals who are selected on a rotating basis.  The panelists have received extensive training in their role as an impartial reviewer as well as policies and procedures of the Rochester Police Department and Civil Rights protections for citizens. 

What does the CRB do? The CRB reviews and analyses case investigations of each citizen complaint to determine thoroughness, fairness and timeliness.  Panelists are charged with rendering a finding on each allegation within a case.  The panel then submits findings directly to the Chief of Police along with any investigative, policy, or remedial training recommendations.

CRB 2014 Annual Report-Final

CRB 2015 Annual Report-Final 3.29.16

Civilian Review Board 2016 Annual Report

Monroe County Sheriff’s Review Panel

The purpose of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Review Panel is also to review and make recommendations on completed internal affairs investigations of alleged police misconduct.  Each review panel consists of three (3) individuals who are selected on a rotating basis from a pool of qualified people of varied ethnic, racial, age and gender backgrounds.  The panelists have received extensive training in their role as an impartial reviewer as well as policies and procedures of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department and Civil Rights protections for citizens.  Panelists review each panel for thoroughness, fairness and timeliness and submit their findings directly to the Sheriff.
Cheryl Hayward at chayward@cdsadr.org or (585) 546-5110 x117
 
For more information contact:

Cheryl Hayward at chayward@cdsadr.org or (585) 546-5110 x117
Grace O'Neil at goneil@cdsadr.org or (585) 546-5110 x109